This morning's RTC meeting in the comfy confines of the Clubhouse showed how far along this group is and it showed the developer community interest interest in the process. Present this morning were: Subcommittee members-7, 5 developer community and 2 civilians by my count; Chair PNicoson and HMerkle from DPZ; and 18 observers--13 developers/landowners and 5 civilians. This is typical of last several meeting, in fact.
Chairman Goudie opened by announcing that agenda today was discussion of latest draft committee report, prepared by RGoudie and POtteni (BP). DRAFT would be presented to TF plenary tonight. Next Subcommittee meeting will be August 17 and will be devoted to public comment. Hope to wrap up work at August 24 meeting, but August 31 meeting possibility kept open. PNicoson said Subcommittees now had until September to finish.
-brief public comment round: Concern expressed re: proposal in draft to change 1:1 Residential to Commercial to drop all retail and hotel from commercial side and leave them as a separate category. Result would be reduced residential units, below straight 1:1 levels which was already a compromise!
Concerns over connectivity among the 4 "republics" in RTC; excessive development and missed civic opportunities in north Town Center.
Dave Edwards not happy with report dismissing air rights, asked if Doug Carter could speak to this question....
Doug Carter eloquently made case for keeping Air Rights option open, leading with the reminder that land values of course were an issue with platforms and all, but MWAA owned (lease from Feds until 2067, actually) the land upon which air rights would be built and pylon base could come from airport trust fund (airline fee funded). He also pointed out the signature landmark and north-south connection advantages. Only MLooney sounded cautionary note, but Patty Nicoson and several others spoke up in favor of changing report language from simple dismissal of concept to expressing favorable view of MWAA going ahead with pylons to preserve important possible future development option. Goudie agreed. No big developer objection now--and no cost to them.
Residential to Commercial balance
Most of the rest of the meeting devoted to this. Lots of discussion of how proposed 1 sq. ft : 1 sq. ft (residential to commercial space) applies. My understanding is that if a developer wants new development on his (interestingly, all but one of the scores of developers and lawyers, etc I've seen in 3 months were men!) land, the 1:1 ratio does not apply to his by-right developement, i.e., within his existing approved zoning F.A.R. Should he want additional F.A.R., he is subject to the 1:1 requirement for everything. But, he can make deals to trade for residential credit, e.g., if another parcel owner has excess residential above the 1;1. I think!
While the 1:1 had been arrived at as a compromise between the lower residential standard developers sought and the higher residential (up to 4:1) passionately pushed by Joe Stowers to improve the overall Town Center ratio which now stands somewhere between 8 and 16 to 1 (commercial to residential, but no one agrees on an exact number!). Joe argued forcefully that higher residential would yield higher worker component, reduce peak traffic and make for more vibrancy than with continued high commercial tilt.
Now, developers sought to reduce the 1:1 compromise (which RGoudie said repeatedly "over time will bend the curve of the high ratio of Comm to Res ) by exempting certain categories from inclusion in commercial calculation.
While Robert argued back and forth for a while, he gradually backpedalled on all counts.
First, it was agreed that hotels would be exempt (except for major conference areas which operated like offices in terms of contributing to traffic peaks)--then he seem to back away from that, too. Then, retail was discussed, and again RGoudie initially fiercely argued it be treated in commercial part of ratio, then backpedalled and agreed to exempt retail as well.
As the subject seemed to be hitting exhaustion, the developers wondered if all civic facilities, amenities--schools, theatres, etc shouldn't be explicitly exempted as well.
The smoke cleared with one of Rae Noritake's wonderful self-adjusting visuals, a multi-colored table which showed the number of residential units falling from over 11,000 at 3.5 F.A.R. when calculated at a straight 1:1 ratio down to about 8,000 after hotels and retail were exempted. We did not get to further calculations as other categories were mentioned.
I think at the end, 1:1 was declared to be the target ratio for Residential to OFFICE (far narrower category than commercial).
Civic Uses, schools, ballfields, open space
Terri Phillips gamely tried to get things like schools, ballfields, services, other public amenities, civic uses discussed as being as important as retail, for example. She seemed to want wording included calling for inclusion of provision for such other uses and recommendations for using large amount of county land to contribute to such uses. She did not get far. In fact, Robert responded by claiming that they had already made lots of provision for open space. The discussion cut off and went on to...
Big Green Space on strawman map in middle of South Metro
One very PO'd developer objected to RGoudies "placeholder" big (+/- 6 acres) green space in the middle of TC Metro South. Robert was using the green shaded area to call attention to Park Authority suggestion that large multi-use green spaces centrally located are very popular, provide substantial relief to intense, especially among large commercial structures. Problem was the offending green was set so it took a big chunk off this one owner's land and he claimed (rightly I think) it was not equitable. It was pointed out it was a strawman and NOT an agreed map. No matter, said the owner, if it goes on big screen before the public, it becomes real and can never be changed--way overstated , but made his point.
Big green area was quietly erased, replaced by little dots of green sprinkled around south side after this morning's meeting.
Task Force saw revised map tonight.
On that note meeting ended.